A flight attendant smashed a bottle of wine over the head of a first-class passenger who was trying to open an exit door in midair.
Appearing on Friday in the US District Court in Seattle, Joseph Daniel Hudek from Florida, who was travelling on Delta Flight 129 from Seattle to Beijing, faced one count of interference with flight crew members for allegedly assaulting flight attendants.
He went to the bathroom, asked a flight attendant a question and then "lunged toward the forward right exit door of the aircraft, grabbed the handle, and attempted to open it", the criminal complaint read.
Two flight attendants grabbed Hudek to keep him from opening the door, and Hudek pushed them away. Hudek, who by now sounds thoroughly insane, apparently didn't even feel the effects of a one liter bottle of wine breaking over his head.
According to the airline's employee benefits, dependent children fly for free, although some government or airport fees apply for global travel.
About an hour into the flight, Hudek went to use the lavatory.
He was charged with interfering with a flight crew, and could face up to 20 years in prison and/or a $250,000 fine.
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Finally, when Hudek was greatly outnumbered he was subdued and held down in the galley, with his limbs tied down as the attendants attempted to return the exit door lever to its original position.
Aircraft cabin doors can not be opened at high altitudes because of the differing pressures inside and outside the jet's cabin, and the Delta plane was cruising at high altitude, at 32,000 feet, when the incident happened. Police boarded the plane to arrest Hudek, who was handcuffed and rolled out in a wheelchair. "And so he turned the wheelchair over in the middle of the airport, screaming for people to help him, just being belligerent".
Delta flight 129 landed safely at 7:10 p.m., and Hudek was arrested. Two were sent to the hospital with several facial injuries, although they are non-life threatening.
Hudek's grandfather Joseph Hudek said the 23-year-old had been visiting Beijing to see a friend, adding Joseph was a frequent flier with no previous incidents.
His grandfather told Q13: "He's a great kid, he's a real good guy; he works hard, saves his money, I don't know what happened. this is so out of character of him, I can't believe it", Hudek said.
Hudek was also injured but declined treatment from medics and was taken into custody, Cooper said.